New General Guideline and Expanded Explanations come into force on 1 October 2019

The new General guideline for sentencing offences that do not have a specific sentencing guideline, published by the Sentencing Council, comes into force today (1 October 2019) in all courts across England and Wales.

The General guideline will also be used with offence specific sentencing guidelines where some factors are not covered and overarching guidance is required. It replaces the Seriousness guideline which has now been withdrawn.

Also coming into force today are expanded explanations which are now embedded in all existing offence specific guidelines. They add extra information to aggravating and mitigating factors to make it easier for courts to maintain consistency and transparency when sentencing (see illustrative video). The expanded explanations will not change the factors in guidelines.

The new guideline and expanded explanations will ensure that judges and magistrates in England and Wales follow a structured and consistent sentencing process for offences which are not currently covered by a specific guideline and will assist prosecution and defence representatives in structuring their submissions to the court.

Please see press notice and a blog on the General guideline and expanded explanations  issued when the guideline was published in July 2019.